Jeanine Kane ’91, English major and theatre arts minor, took part this summer in a theatrical production of “King Lear” and says her experiences in the classroom and on the stage at Stonehill helped her succeed in the role and many others she has had since graduating.
A professional actor for 17 years, Jeanine says she decided to pursue the role of Regan in the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s production because she always gravitates towards Shakespeare. “In fact, my first Shakespeare role was as Viola in “Twelfth Night” at Stonehill, she says. Adding that, “before Commonwealth Shakespeare, I played Cordelia in “King Lear” at the Gamm Theatre, so I was very attracted to the idea of playing another of Lear’s daughters.”
A nonprofit organization that focuses on bringing the works of Shakespeare to the city of Boston, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, offers free performances on Boston Common every summer.
As a student, Jeanine formed part of the Stonehill Theatre Company, which taught her what managing a theater organization entails and helped develop her craft. Offering “real world” experience, she says that expectations in the company were high and that students learned to take responsibility themselves. “The productions were top quality, and I received spot-on acting training,” she says. “I learned so much about the qualities it takes to be an actor: hard work, commitment, sense of self, and dedication to the craft. My training as an actor is always continuing and evolving, but Stonehill was a fantastic starting point.”
The experiential learning that students receive in the Visual & Performing Arts Department has proven to be valuable. Jeanine says the program taught her so much about theater and prepared her for the “real world” experience. “When I was a senior, I needed to prepare two monologues for graduate study at Trinity Rep Conservatory,” she says. “I was well armed for the audition, using material for plays we did at Stonehill. I felt confident because of the strong foundation I received at Stonehill, and I was accepted into the program.”
Typical of the Stonehill experience, she found mentors and built relationships with professors who provided guidance and support as she developed her craft. She credits, Professor Patricia Sankus for instilling the importance of strong work ethic and good technique and Professor Joan Halpert for helping her navigate the world of theater and beyond.
Stonehill College offers a minor in theatre arts, which aids the student in theater development by providing a deeper understanding of the workings of the human imagination and emotions, the use of the body and voice as a means of expression, the complexities of interpersonal relationships as seen in art and life and experiential learning opportunities.